Powershell is quite a powerful scripting language that has been around for a while. It has simplified the administration of servers and applications quite a bit, and in and of itself is actually simpler to manipulate than regular scripting languages. (i.e: shell scripting, perl, VB). Moreover, these other languages require a script that would be 100 lines long to do the job of a 1 liner in Powershell.
Because of the complexity of scripts, and the high level of knowledge required to write something as simple as returning a quick report about some servers, combined with quite a number of administrators who are not very well versed with scripting, the need for something like PowerGUI is huge.
What is PowerGUI, you ask. well, in a nutshell, it’s a Powershell scripting tool that allows the importing of “Powerpacks” to it, that other people have already written. In addition, it’s also a great tool to write Powershell scripts in, it has syntax highlighting, and suggestion with the an explanation of the functions, as well as their usage. For existing VB scripters, it has a built in VBScript converter to Powershell. You chose the function that you would otherwise use in VBScript , and PowerGUI will automatically convert that into Powershell syntax: Extremely convenient!
The Powerpacks are the heart of PowerGUI. There are quite a few of them. The most prominent are ones for VMWare management, Hyper-V management, Exchange 2003, 2007 and 2010 management. The latter is extremely convenient, especially for Exchange 2007 and 2010, as those products rely almost solely on Powershell to manage. Some administrators simply don’t have this skill, and most would simply prefer to use a pre-packaged GUI interface, instead of re-inventing the wheel.
This free utility is quite a power-house, and a must for any administrator. There is a PRO version of the same utility, which allows for web-based Powershell scripting, and is sold by Quest. For most, the free utility will more than suffice.